The controversial issue of members of Congress and their spouses trading individual stocks has been thrust into the spotlight once again, with Rep. Abigail Spanberger introducing the TRUST in Congress Act. This bill seeks to put an end to insider trading by legislators and their families, a growing problem that has led many Americans to believe that those in office are using privileged information for financial gain.
In particular, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has become wealthy through her stock trades, although it’s hard to believe an 82-year-old politician would be able to outperform professionals in the market. Seeking Alpha reported on the controversy surrounding Pelosi’s investing activities, noting that it’s almost impossible to ignore when discussing Congressional insider trading.
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that her husband purchased call options for Microsoft shortly before a $21.9 billion deal was announced with the U.S. Army, a deal which saw Microsoft’s stock rise sharply after being disclosed.
Given this suspicious activity, many lawmakers are calling for action should any member be found guilty of trading on inside information with Democratic Representative Adam Schiff saying he will proudly cosponsor Spanberger’s legislation if it reaches the floor. He also mentioned that any Member found guilty ought to be prosecuted accordingly, a sentiment which many members agree upon.
The TRUST in Congress Act could offer protection against members and their spouses engaging in self-serving practices with insider knowledge and create more transparency around legislators’ investments while they are in office by requiring them to place their assets into qualified blind trusts. The bill also promises much needed reform from last year’s proposal which failed due to lack of consensus despite being backed by House Speaker Pelosi who had initially defended lawmakers’ ability to trade stocks
With 35 cosponsors ranging from Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida to Rep. Adam Schiff of California this time around, Spanberger’s renewed effort could finally lead us toward progress towards eliminating unfair advantages within our government and restore public trust through greater accountability when it comes to lawmakers handling investments or trades affecting US citizens.